Gamified assessments can provide richer data for a more holistic analysis of students skills and progress

Will gamification replace paper tests?

Gamified assessments can provide richer data for a more holistic analysis of students' skills and progress

But now, new digital tools and applications are taking gamification to a more creative and interactive level. And when it comes to technology, the upcoming generation of students are likely to be far more conversant than their teachers could ever hope to be.

What’s more, schools are starting to integrate the games into actual class time, rather than reserving these gaming activities for study halls and homework. Classroom-targeted games range from smartphone-based quizzing apps to fully immersive role-playing games (RPGs) with complex storylines, individual avatars, achievement badges, and leaderboards. For younger students, there are interactive games to help them learn the alphabet or recognize colors. Many of these games generate automated reports for teachers to assess relevant skills and identify areas for improvement.

Gamification technology can also get students out of their seats and learning kinesthetically. Kinesthetic learning tools help engage students who are struggling to pay attention in class. Kinesthetic platforms are especially good for students with ADHD because they give the students something enjoyable to focus on, and incorporate natural, fun movements into lessons and assessments.

VR-based technologies allow students to get up and walk around the classroom writing things on virtual walls rather than being confined to their desks. Specific VR programs send students on virtual scavenger hunts or require them to collect stamps on digital passports as they navigate the virtual terrain. Other options provide augmented or mixed-reality games in an immersive environment. These platforms capture data about both fine and gross motor skills in a fun and unobtrusive way.

Can Gamification Replace Traditional Tests?

The truth is, traditional pen and paper assessments will probably be around for a long time yet. They’re too deeply seated in the school system to go easily. Still, standardized tests have come under heavy fire for being inefficient, inaccurate, and downright discriminatory.

Gamified assessments can go beyond simply assessing general knowledge of a subject, especially for younger grades. Active learning games can train students to focus better. Unscored quizzes can give students a chance to gauge their own progress without the pressure of thinking about how each assessment will affect their overall grades. Whole-body games can help students with fine motor skills, visual perceptions, and reaction times.

So, while schools may continue to use traditional assessments, gamified assessments can play a supplementary role, providing richer data for a more holistic analysis of students’ skills and progress.

Gamification Challenges in Education

Not everyone is thrilled to jump on the gamification bandwagon. Teachers and school administrators are concerned that students already spend an inordinate amount of time on digital devices. And some educators worry that gamified learning will become more about fun and less about actual education. But the fact remains that students today respond to technology, and it makes sense to use that understanding to create learning programs that meet students where their interests are.

On the whole, educators seem to be coming around to the advantages of gamification. In a recent study, more than 50 percent of experienced U.S. educators agreed that gamification is a tool worth embracing. And that’s important, since the teachers are the ones who will be implementing these technologies and finding ways to maximize their educational value. Gamification has huge potential. Where normal assessments fail to bring a whole-child approach to education, gamified assessments can allow teachers to monitor progress in every area and plan lessons accordingly, while also allowing students to enjoy the learning process. In whatever form teachers and schools can embrace it, gamification represents a very promising avenue for educators to pursue.

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